Category Archives: Wildlife

Military base employee attacked by BEAR in WASHINGTON ~ Researchers say 2012 death of TENNESSEE boy due to La Crosse virus ~ Second HANTAVIRUS fatality in COLORADO this year ~ POWASSAN VIRUS found in CONNECTICUT ~ CALIFORNIA reported record number of WEST NILE VIRUS deaths in 2014 ~ Two New EBOLA VACCINES pass early tests ~ FOLLOW-UP REPORT: COYOTE that attacked NEW JERSEY man was RABID ~ Other RABIES reports from PENNSYLVANIA (2).

Black bear. Courtesy Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

Black bear. Courtesy Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

Washington 04/16/15 Q13RFox.com: A civilian employee working in a training area at Joint Base Lewis-McChord was attacked by a bear. He was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. Base officials closed Engineer Bluff on the Lewis Main training area Thursday afternoon. – See http://q13fox.com/2015/04/16/joint-base-lewis-mcchord-employee-injured-in-bear-attack-on-base/

La CROSSE VIRUS:

lacrosse6647Tennessee 04/17/15 healthday.com: by Steven Reinberg – The death from encephalitis of a 6-year-old Tennessee boy has led researchers to a better understanding of the mosquito-borne virus that killed the child. La Crosse virus, transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito, often causes no symptoms. But severe cases may involve encephalitis, a type of brain inflammation usually triggered by infection. “When [the La Crosse virus] does cause disease, it can cause fatal illness or make children very sick,” said Amy Lambert, a research microbiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The disease is almost exclusively among children,” added Lambert, lead researcher of the new paper published in the May issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. In this case, the 6-year-old Union County boy was hospitalized in July 2012 after suffering two seizures and other symptoms associated with viral encephalitis. His condition deteriorated rapidly, and he was dead within five days. Illness from La Crosse virus, which was identified in 1963 in La Crosse, Wis., is uncommon. Cases each year in the United States number just 80 to 100, Lambert said. Still, these infections have increased in parts of the southeastern United States, including eastern Tennessee, where the boy was living, the CDC pointed out. “Historically, the known center of La Crosse virus activity was in the Midwest and Atlantic states,” the researcher said. Possible reasons for the increase in infections in the Southeast include more of the virus-carrying mosquitoes — known as Aedes triseriatus — or a new more potent strain of La Crosse virus in this area, Lambert said. – For complete article see http://consumer.healthday.com/general-health-information-16/bites-and-stings-news-65/tennessee-boy-s-death-highlights-mosquito-borne-virus-698496.html

HANTAVIRUS:

Deermouse.

Deermouse.

Colorado 04/11/15 durangoherald.com: by Chase Olivarius-Mcallister – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment confirmed Friday that a La Plata County resident has died after becoming infected with hantavirus – a rare but often deadly disease carried by deer mice. Spokesman Mark Salley said it is the second confirmed case of hantavirus in the state this year. In both 2015 cases, the disease was fatal. San Juan Basin Health Department sent samples to CDPHE’s laboratory in Denver for testing earlier this week. Since 1993, the state health department has documented more than 90 cases of hantavirus in Colorado, and more than 40 percent of people died from the infection. – For complete article see http://www.durangoherald.com/article/20150410/NEWS01/150409612/La-Plata-County-resident-dies-from-hantavirus-

POWASSAN VIRUS:

tickhabitat33Connecticut 044/09/15 foxnews.com: An untreatable, and sometimes fatal tick-borne disease is turning up in parts of southern Connecticut, according to one expert. Dr. Theodore Andreadis, head of The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, told WCBS 880 that the Powassan virus has symptoms similar to those of Lyme disease, including headache, nausea and fever. Once contracted, there is no treatment for the virus, and the disease can often be fatal, Andreadis said. While there have been no reported human cases in the areas, Andreadis said that people who venture into wooded areas may encounter deer carrying ticks. “These ticks will transmit this virus when they feed within a matter of hours, whereas with Lyme disease, for example, ticks generally have to feed up to two days before they’re capable of transmitting it,” Andreadis told WCBS 880. The virus can often be symptomless before often infecting the nervous system and causing encephalitis and meningitis. Survivors can develop neurological symptoms such as muscle wasting and memory problems, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. – See http://www.foxnews.com/health/2015/04/09/untreatable-tick-borne-virus-found-in-conn/

WEST NILE VIRUS (WNV):

080722_west_nile_genericCalifornia 04/09/15 mercurynews.com: by Christopher Weber – California saw a record number of deaths from West Nile virus last year, and the state’s drought may have contributed to the spike in infections, according to health officials. Thirty-one infected people died in 2014, the most since California began recording West Nile cases in 2003, the state Department of Public Health said Wednesday. There were 801 Californians who tested positive for the virus — coming close to the record of 880 cases a decade ago. Orange County recorded the highest number of cases, with 263. It’s possible the drought had a role in the increased West Nile activity because birds and mosquitoes, which spread the virus, were drawn to the same few water sources, said Dr. Karen Smith, director of the health department. “As birds and mosquitoes sought water, they came into closer contact and amplified the virus, particularly in urban areas. The lack of water could have caused some sources of water to stagnate, making the water sources more attractive for mosquitoes to lay eggs,” Smith said. – For complete article see http://www.mercurynews.com/health/ci_27881160/california-saw-record-number-west-nile-deaths-2014

EBOLA VACCINE:

ebola88394Global 04/08/15 nytimes.com: by Denise Grady – Two new Ebola vaccines have passed an important test, protecting monkeys against the strain of the virus responsible for the current deadly outbreak, researchers reported on Wednesday. Only one dose was needed, and there were no apparent side effects. The vaccines have not yet been tested in people, but safety trials in healthy volunteers will probably begin early this summer, said Thomas W. Geisbert, an Ebola expert at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and the senior author of a report published on Wednesday in the journal Nature. Tests in nonhuman primates are an important step, because those animals are far more closely related to humans than are other lab animals.

The study of the new vaccines involved 10 macaques. Eight were vaccinated, and two, as controls, were not. The vaccinated animals showed no signs of side effects from the vaccine, Dr. Geisbert said. On the 28th day after the vaccines were given, all the monkeys were injected with Ebola virus from the current outbreak. No vaccinated monkeys became ill, but the unvaccinated ones both died within a week. Thomas W. Geisbert, an Ebola expert at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, in his office. Credit Michael Stravato for The New York Times The two new vaccines are improved versions of an older one that was licensed to Merck and is now being tested for efficacy in people in Liberia. The older vaccine can cause unpleasant side effects like fever and pain in joints and muscles. (Another vaccine, licensed to GlaxoSmithKline, is also being tested in West Africa, and has not had serious side effects.) – For complete article see http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/09/health/2-new-ebola-vaccines-pass-important-early-test-researchers-say.html?emc=edit_tnt_20150408&nlid=57949252&tntemail0=y

FOLLOW-UP REPORT:

RABIES:

(See “NEW JERSEY resident attacked by COYOTE” posted April 8, 2015)

New Jersey 04/08/15 northjersey.com: by Marina Villeneuve – SADDLE RIVER — A local man bitten by a coyote on Monday said he was feeling “fine” Wednesday while undergoing preventive treatment for rabies, as authorities confirmed that the coyote had indeed been rabid. Police and state wildlife staff had tracked down and euthanized the coyote soon after it bit John Zeug, 77, as he worked in his garden. They also had discovered its nearby den and found dead coyote pups there. But Saddle River officials and police continued to urge residents not to leave small children or pets unattended outdoors as they continue to check the area for any other sick wildlife. – For complete article see http://www.northjersey.com/news/coyote-that-attacked-saddle-river-man-tests-positive-for-rabies-1.1304810

RABIES:

Pennsylvania 04/13/15 Erie County: A barn cat in Washington Township that began to show signs of paralysis in its legs has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.erietvnews.com/story/28787152/erie-county-5731289-very-cute-child-with-a-cat-in-armscat-tests-positive-for-rabies

Pennsylvania 04/14/15 Bucks County: A feral cat found in West Rockhill Township has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.njherald.com/story/28803111/feral-cat-in-suburban-philadelphia-diagnosed-with-rabies

Three FLORIDIANS hospitalized after BEE attack ~ NEW JERSEY resident attacked by COYOTE ~ FERAL CATS pose risk of TYPHUS to general public ~ FLEA infested PRAIRIE DOG den in ARIZONA tests positive for BUBONIC PLAGUE ~ New book updating LYME DISEASE ~ RABIES reports from GA, NY & NC.

Honey bee. Photo by Vera Buhl. Wikimedia Commons.

Honey bee. Photo by Vera Buhl. Wikimedia Commons.

Florida 04/06/15 wfla.com: Pasco Fire Rescue crews responded to a report of a bee attack in New Port Richey Sunday afternoon in which three people were hospitalized. The wild bee hive was in a tree in the 7800 block of Calabash Lane. Experts believe there are between 20,000 and 30,000 bees in the hive. The neighbor Alisson Osteen saw the bees from her home. “I saw my neighbor’s brother on the ground rolling, just covered in bees all over his face, his neck, his arms. So I called 911,” she said. “He was screaming for help.” Pasco County Fire Rescue firefighters used a hose to spray the bees to get them to disperse and help the two men. They had as many as about 50 stings each. A woman who walked out of her home also received about a dozen stings but was not as seriously injured. Osteen said she didn’t see how it happened, but there was a ladder by the tree. “I don’t know if that was the bee keeper’s ladder or if that was the ladder they were using to touch the nest if they were trying to remove it themselves trying to get honey. I don’t know what they were trying to do,” she said. Firefighters cleared the scene at about 2 p.m. Sunday. Nobody on the crew was injured or stung. Crews are expected to return to the hive on Monday, however the bee expert is waiting for the bees to calm down before doing anything with the hive. – http://www.wfla.com/story/28724800/bees-sting-4-in-pasco-2-in-hospital

COYOTE:

Coyote%20stalking%20prey%20-%20note%20radio%20collar%20and%20ear%20tags%20for%20research%20projectNew Jersey 04/06/15 northjersey.com: by Jim Norman – A man working in his garden in the Twin Brooks area of (Saddle River) was attacked Monday by a coyote that was then hunted down and euthanized, authorities said. The man, whose identity was not released, was taken to a hospital for treatment and then released for recovery at home, according to a report on the Saddle River Police Department’s Facebook page. The man was attacked from behind by the animal and managed to escape, the police report said. Officers who investigated the incident learned that the same coyote had attacked a neighbor’s dog last week, requiring the dog’s owner to have it treated at a veterinarian’s office, police said. In addition, the police report said, workers in the area reported having seen the coyote several times on Monday, acting aggressively toward other dogs. Officers who responded to the attack saw the coyote running through a neighbor’s yard during daylight and called a local pest control company, which arrived, along with officers from the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. The coyote was found in a wooded area and put down, police said. The animal’s body was removed by the Fish and Wildlife officers for testing and analysis. Police asked any resident who has had an encounter with the coyote to call 201-327-5300, to document the event. Police also are reminding local residents to report aggressive wildlife behavior immediately, to head off the chance of another attack. – See http://www.northjersey.com/news/coyote-euthanized-after-it-attacks-saddle-river-man-1.1303757

TYPHUS:

typhus-transmission-cycleCalifornia 04/06/15 Orange County: by Matthew Cunningham – Flea-borne (endemic) typhus is carried by the common cat flea, which is found primarily on feral cats, raccoon and opossums. Common cat fleas bite people and their infected feces enters the bloodstream, causing severe illness. In 2006, there was a single reported case of flea-borne typhus infection in Orange County – the first since 2013. Between 2006 and 2014, there have been more than 100 reported cases of flea-borne typhus in OC. – See http://www.publicceo.com/2015/04/misplaced-outrage-over-anaheims-ban-on-feeding-feral-cats/

BUBONIC PLAGUE:

prairiedogUSParksArizona 04/06/15 upi.com/Health_News: by Brooks Hays – Arizona health officials and wildlife managers are monitoring flea infestations more closely after several specimens in Picture Canyon, near Flagstaff, tested positive for Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that causes the disease known as the bubonic plague. Officials grew concerned when they were alerted to a prairie dog den that appeared to features an unusually large number of dead or dying prairie dogs. Several surrounding burrows were tested, revealing the culprit to be the plague . . . Nearby burrows are now being cleared and disinfected, in an effort to stem any possible outbreak of the disease. Late last week, following the positive test, officials returned to test a much broader area for the dangerous bacteria. Those results are due back later this week. – See http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2015/04/06/Officials-concerned-by-plague-carrying-fleas-in-Arizona/7041428341911/

LYME DISEASE:

LymeDiseaseBookBook Review 04/06/15 washingtonpost.com: by Nancy Szokan – In in the 1970s, public health professionals began noticing a kind of rheumatoid arthritis affecting children around Lyme, Conn. Soon they began associating it with a skin rash, possibly caused by a deer tick. In 1981, researchers Willy Burgdorfer and Alan G. Barbour identified the cause of what had come to be known as Lyme disease. Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are 300,000 new cases a year. So there’s probably a large audience for a new book by Barbour, who’s now a professor of medicine and microbiology at the medical school at the University of California at Irvine: “Lyme Disease: Why It’s Spreading, How It Makes You Sick, and What to Do About It.” Drawing on his decades of research and involvement with patients, he gives a thorough and comprehensive overview of the disease, including the biology of the microbe that causes it and the tick that transmits it; how diagnosis is made and test results are interpreted; the use of antibiotics; disease prevention at the individual and community level; and the controversial condition called Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome, in which symptoms persist for years after antibiotic therapy ends. He ends with a somewhat pessimistic view of how we as a society are handling a disease that seems to be more prevalent every year. It’s not a particularly easy read; Barbour writes like the highly educated scientist he is, and he doesn’t mince technical terms. But his indisputable credentials and his clearly sympathetic concern make this a worthwhile book. – See http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/from-a-doctor-who-helped-discover-lyme-disease-a-broad-update/2015/04/06/1fd66e9e-d893-11e4-b3f2-607bd612aeac_story.html

RABIES:

Georgia 04/02/15 Worth County: A dog that was adopted by a southwest Georgia resident using an online service has tested positive for rabies. Existing pets in the household didn’t have up-to-date vaccinations and “(a)s a result, this well-intentioned individual ended up losing beloved pets that had been exposed and could not be saved,” a county health specialist said. – See http://worthit2u.net/worth/2015/04/02/public-health-confirms-rabies-case-in-worth/

sidebar_RabiesAlertNew York 04/05/15 Franklin County: A second person is undergoing treatment for exposure to the rabies virus, and two more are being evaluated after caring for dogs that had attacked raccoons later found to be rabid. “I cannot stress enough the importance of getting your dog vaccinated,” Public Health Director Kathleen F. Strack said. Cats should also be vaccinated, she said. – See http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/news05/second-person-in-franklin-county-undergoing-rabies-treatment-20150405

North Carolina 04/01/15 Robeson County: A dog that was shot after attacking its owners in Pembroke has tested positive for rabies. Two victims, a father and daughter, have been advised to begin post-exposure rabies treatments. – See http://robesonian.com/news/health/152667014/Rabid-dog-attacks-its-owners

Can DEER droppings transmit CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE to HUMANS? ~ UNIV OF MONTANA criticized for handling of HANTAVIRUS case – RABIES reports from FL & NC.

Image: Whitetail deer. Public Domain.

Image: Whitetail deer. Public Domain.

Global 03/28/15 triblive.com: by Jessica Walliser – Question: I have a problem and hope that you can help me. My sizable flower garden has deer droppings all through the beds. There are huge piles in some instances. I cannot possibly remove them. Can I just hoe them into the soil like fertilizer? Is there any health issue connected with this? I wear gloves all the time, but I also transplant a lot of perennials and move them around. Any input?

Answer: This is a very good question. The biggest potential problem you face in having so many deer droppings in your garden is the potential for the transmission of E. coli and chronic wasting disease (CWD), a deer and elk disease similar to mad cow disease. The Pennsylvania Game Commission’s website notes that CWD has been detected in several Pennsylvania locations since it was first found in the state in 2012. After a bit of investigating, I discovered that the jury is still out on whether and how chronic wasting disease can be transmitted to humans. That being said, both the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s website and the Center for Disease Control’s website note that there’s no evidence that CWD is transmissible to humans. But they do not recommend eating meat from a deer that has tested positive for CWD. From what I found, fecal-to-oral transmission from deer to humans has not been completely ruled out, meaning the disease could possibly be transmitted to a human if she were to touch contaminated deer excrement and then inadvertently introduce it into her mouth, but no cases of this type of transmission have ever been recorded.

Jessica Walliser

Jessica Walliser

So what does that mean for gardeners? In my mind, it means “better safe than sorry.” Handle deer waste as you would any animal waste — with extreme care. Use gloves when working in the garden and try to remove as much waste as possible, using a shovel to bury it elsewhere, if possible. Scoop it out of the garden very carefully, and certainly do not allow it to come into contact with any edibles. Do not use the contaminated “manure shovel” for any other tasks. Even if CWD is not transmissible to humans via contact with fecal matter, E.coli is. Deer carry dangerous strains of E. coli in their guts. Because of this, deer waste should be composted in a “hot” compost pile (165 degrees F) for a minimum of three months to kill any E. coli bacteria that is present in it. Composting, however, does not kill the disease prions for CWD. Horticulturist Jessica Walliser co-hosts “The Organic Gardeners” at 7 a.m. Sundays on KDKA Radio. She is the author of several gardening books, including “Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control” and “Good Bug, Bad Bug.” Her website is www.jessicawalliser.com.

HANTAVIRUS:

Deer mouse. USDA.

Deer mouse. USDA.

Montana 03/29/15 mtstandard.com: The University of Montana is being criticized for the way it handled a case of hantavirus on campus earlier this month. The response consisted of a “vague email sent out late on a Friday afternoon, and lacked crucial information such as when the infection occurred or became known, what locations might be suspected sources of exposure, or even that it was a student who had been infected.” It is now known that “(s)ometime during the first week of March, Antonio Morsette, 20, began showing symptoms of hantavirus, including intense headaches, fatigue, and hot and cold flashes. He was likely exposed one to five weeks earlier. A junior in environmental studies who hails from Rocky Boy, Morsette returned to classes this week, stronger but not fully recovered. After all, he had to be put into a medically induced coma for four days, and nearly died of hantavirus . . . Morsette believes he was exposed to hantavirus while power-washing recycled materials at the recycling center on campus. The virus can be found in the droppings of contaminated rodents, and can be transmitted to humans when they breathe air containing the virus. Morsette told the Missoulian that the Missoula City-County Health Department said that he and his colleagues at the recycling center should have worn masks while power-washing the recycled materials.” – See http://mtstandard.com/news/opinion/guest/at-um-hantavirus-case-exposed-communication-failure/article_29dfa58a-b3c1-503a-8acf-a1a48b8e17c7.html

RABIES:

a898778rabies-alertFlorida 03/26/15 Sarasota County: A Rabies Alert has been issued for the area within a 1.5-mile radius of Honore Avenue and Bahia Vista Street in the City of Sarasota after a goat tested positive for the virus. A local veterinarian who treated the goat for injuries said it is likely that it was attacked by a rabid fox or raccoon. – See http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20150326/article/150329784

rabies_tag_small_websiteNorth Carolina 03/28/15 Union County: A dog found dead in the area of Mullis Newsome and New Salem roads in Monroe has tested positive for rabies. People and pets who may have been exposed to the dog, described as a brown and white female Husky, should immediately be examined and evaluated for possible treatment.- See http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article16640846.html

FERAL DOG PACK kills SOUTH DAKOTAN ~ CANADA reports 21 HUMAN CASES of WEST NILE VIRUS in 2014 ~ CHIKUNGUNYA in MEXICO tops 400 ~ CHIKUNGUNYA in the AMERICAS now at 1.3 million cases and counting ~ MONTANA confirms HUMAN CASE of HANTAVIRUS ~ RABIES reports from NY & SD.

Feral dog pack. Bing free use license.

Feral dog pack. Bing free use license.

South Dakota 03/18/15 kotatv.com: A 49-year-old woman was walking home from the Rosebud Reservation’s Lower Swift Bear community this past weekend when she was attacked and killed by a pack of feral dogs. Tribal police later captured 30 stray dogs. The attack comes just months after an 8-year-old girl was killed by a pack of dogs on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and a similar deadly attack that occurred on a Wyoming reservation last year. – See http://www.kotatv.com/news/south-dakota-news/Could-dog-attack-have-been-prevented/31854744

WEST NILE VIRUS:

phacCanada 03/18/15 outbreaknewstoday.com: by Robert Herriman – While the United States saw well over 2,000 West Nile Virus (WNV) cases and 85 fatalities during 2014, our neighbors to the north saw just a tiny fraction of that amount. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, a total of 21 human clinical cases of West Nile virus were reported in Canada, all from 3 provinces. To put that number into perspective, North Dakota, in the northern plains of the US bordering Canada reported 22 WNV cases. Approximately half the Canadian cases were of the more serious neuroinvasive variety, while the other half were not. No WNV fatalities were reported in 2014. The mosquito borne viral disease was reported from Manitoba (5), Ontario (10)  and Quebec (6).v – See http://outbreaknewstoday.com/canada-reports-21-west-nile-virus-cases-in-2014/

CHIKUNGUNYA:

chikungunya-symptoms66734Mexico 03/21/15 outbreaknewstoday.com: by Robert Herriman – At least 79 confirmed chikungunya cases have been reported in the Mexican Pacific coast state of Guerrero, according to a El Universal report. More than 70 percent of the cases in the state have been reported in the beach resort city of Acapulco. Other areas in Guerrero reporting chikungunya cases include 15 in the region of Costa Chica, six cases in Zihuatanejo and two more in Petatlán. There has been no fatalities reported. Health authorities have launched mosquito awareness and extermination campaigns in the coastal regions of the state. Beginning in October 2014, the first locally transmitted cases of chikungunya were reported in Mexico. Local transmission means that mosquitoes in Mexico have been infected with chikungunya and are spreading it to people. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has reported 405 confirmed autochthonous and 21 imported chikungunya cases as of Mar. 20. – See http://outbreaknewstoday.com/mexico-chikungunya-cases-top-400-dozens-reported-in-acapulco-15359/

paho4567Western Hemisphere 03/20/15 outbreaknewstoday.com: Fifteen months ago the Western Hemisphere reported its first two human cases of Chikungunya Virus. Today, according to the Pan American Health Organization, the total number of suspected and confirmed locally acquired cases exceeds 1.3 million. Nearly 29,000 new cases were reported in the Americas during the past week. – See http://outbreaknewstoday.com/chikungunya-in-the-americas-1-3-million-cases-and-counting-47779/

HANTAVIRUS:       

imagesCAULAVUQMontana 03/22/15 missoulian.com: The University of Montana has notified its campus population that a human case of hantavirus has been confirmed in Missoula County. No further information has been released. – See http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/um-reports-hantavirus-case-in-missoula-county/article_1a2fad21-278c-541d-9a00-c269e91df2b8.html

RABIES:

New York 03/21/15 Franklin County: A pet dog that played with a young male member of its owner’s family in Westville has tested positive for rabies. The dog had not been vaccinated and had recently been bitten by a raccoon. – See http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/news05/franklin-county-youth-being-artworks-000005523137-7od8pb-croptreated-after-having-contact-with-rabid-dog-20150321

South Dakota 03/17/15 Brookings County: A feral cat that found its way inside a Southbrook Estates home and bit the owner’s hands has tested positive for rabies. The man was trying to protect the cat from his pet dog when he was bitten. – See http://www.kdlt.com/news/local-news/cat-bites-brookings-co-man-tests-positive-for-rabies/31855590

OPOSSUMS eat TICKS and FOXES eat RODENTS so both help control LYME DISEASE ~ 55 cases of CHIKUNGUNYA imported to U.S. so far this year ~ Is CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE a threat to HUMANS? ~ U.S. healthcare worker with EBOLA in Sierra Leone to be treated at NIH Bethesda, MARYLAND ~ RABIES reports from SC & Canada-ON.

Red fox chasing mouse. Courtesy State of Connecticut.

Red fox chasing mouse. Courtesy State of Connecticut.

Global 03/14/15 poughkeepsiejournal.com: by John Ferro – They come out at night. They have scary teeth. They have a weird name with an extra vowel most people don’t pronounce. And they are where Lyme disease goes to die. Say hello to the opossum, the American marsupial with a pointy nose and prehensile tail that dines on ticks like a vacuum dines on dust. (Most people drop the first vowel when speaking of ‘possums, but possums actually belong to a different species native to Australia.) . . . (T)iny adolescent ticks that carry Lyme disease bacteria are most active during the late spring months, typically May and even as early as April during warmer years. But whereas these ticks can be found in large numbers on mice, shrews and chipmunks, they are eaten in large numbers by opossum. Research led by scientists based at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook placed different species into cages, covered them with ticks and waited for the biting arachnids to jump off. The scientists then counted how many survived. Opossums can eat or remove as much as 96 percent of the ticks that land on them.

Virginia opossum

Virginia opossum

Cary scientists are continuing to examine the correlation between the frequency of different types of mammals, and the infection rates of ticks found in the same area. The initial thought? Where foxes thrive, Lyme doesn’t. That’s because foxes are good hunters of the small mammals that serve as the most effective reservoirs of the Lyme pathogen. – For complete article see http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/tech/science/environment/2015/03/14/lyme-disease-opossum-ticks/70221442/ and for relative video about foxes see http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/videos/news/health/lyme-disease/2014/10/27/18000483/

CHIKUNGUNYA:

States reporting imported ChikV.

States reporting imported ChikV.

National 03/12/15 outbreaknestoday.com: by Robert Herriman – In an update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week, there has been a total of 55 chikungunya virus disease cases that have been reported to ArboNET from 14 U.S. states, as of Mar. 10. Of the 55 travel associated cases seen this year, 60 percent of cases are from three statesFlorida, New York and Maryland. No locally-transmitted cases have been reported from U.S. states. Chikungunya became a nationally notifiable disease in the United States in 2015. Last year, there were 2,481 travel associated cases reported from all states except, North Dakota, Wyoming and Alaska. Eleven locally-transmitted cases were reported from Florida. – See http://outbreaknewstoday.com/us-reports-55-imported-chikungunya-in-2015-to-date-89590/

CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE:

thumbnailCA84UOUZGlobal 03/11/15 virology.ws: Dr. Vincent Racaniello, Professor of Microbiology & Immunology in the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columba University, and author of the Virology Blog, has posted a blog about Chronic Wasting Disease, a prion disease of deer, elk and moose. Hunters and others who have an interest in the topic will want to read it. – See http://www.virology.ws/

EBOLA VIRUS:

ebola-virus32Maryland 03/12/15 medscape.com: by Robert Lowes – An American healthcare worker who has tested positive for the Ebola virus is expected to arrive tomorrow from Sierra Leone at an infectious-disease containment unit of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, the federal agency announced today. The American had been volunteering in an Ebola treatment facility in Sierra Leone, one of three nations bearing the brunt of the disease’s outbreak in West Africa since it began in December 2013. A chartered aircraft will transport the individual while in isolation to the Special Clinical Studies Unit (SCSU) at the NIH Clinical Center. The NIH did not release any further details about the identity of the American. The SCSU is one of a handful of high-level containment units in the country designed to treat patients with a virulent infectious disease such as Ebola and prevent further disease transmission. The healthcare worker, due to arrive tomorrow at the SCSU, will be the second patient with Ebola treated there. – See http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/841408?src=wnl_edit_newsal&uac=218349HV

RABIES:

rabiesAlert521d4-1South Carolina 03/11/15 Abbeville County: A stray cat found in the City of Abbeville that came in contact with at least four people has tested positive for rabies. – For further information see http://www.wyff4.com/news/dhec-cat-exposes-south-carolinians-to-rabies/31743790

Canada:

help7689Ontario 03/12/15 Grey Bruce Health Services: Officials are looking for the owner of a cat that bit a man in Owen Sound on Saturday. Staff at the health unit need to confirm that the cat, found in the 1500 block of 3rd Ave. E. at approximately 12:30 p.m., has had a current rabies vaccination. The grey cat was hiding under a vehicle and when the man reached under the vehicle to remove it, he was bitten. The cat is believed to be an indoor cat. If it is determined the cat has been vaccinated, the man can avoid post-exposure rabies treatment. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the health unit at 519-376-9420. – See http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/2015/03/12/health-unit-seeking-cats-owner

MURINE TYPHUS reported in CALIFORNIA communities ~ Hungry COYOTES attacking large DOGS in CONNECTICUT ~ CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE within 12 miles of SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK ~ HIV VIRUS traced to GORILLAS in CAMEROON ~ RABIES reports from FL, TX & VA.

By Cody Pope (WikipediaUserCody.pope) CC BY-SA 2.5 (glicensesby-sa2.5), via Wikimedia Commons

By Cody Pope (WikipediaUserCody.pope) CC BY-SA 2.5 (glicensesby-sa2.5), via Wikimedia Commons

California 03/05/15 nbclosangeles.com: by Keith Esparros – A form of typhus with flu-like symptoms that can lead to hospitalization if left untreated is popping up in parts of Southern California, and possums are the likely culprits. Cases of Murine Typhus, an infection spread by either flea bites or contact with flea feces, are being reported in the communities of Altadena, Los Feliz and Pasadena and South Pasadena, which have large possum populations, said Dr. Rachel Civen of the LA County Health Department, who calls it “a niche disease.” Symptoms include high fever, nausea, fatigue and muscle weakness. Forty — six cases were reported in LA County in 2014, three in Altadena, where crews posted notices and launched a possum search. The opossums found in Southern California are also referred to as possums. “Possums have massive proportions of fleas on them,” Civen said. “Thousands of them.” That makes them ideal carriers for the disease. Fleas carry the disease from rats, opossums or feral cats, and can infect the family pet. “It’s a pretty benign disease for dogs and cats,” Civen said, but the pet can infect other fleas, which then can bite and infect humans. Murine typhus symptoms are similar to flu, and can be difficult to pinpoint and diagnose. – For complete article see http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Possums-Likely-Culprit-as-Niche-Disease-Appears-in-SoCal-Communities-295251451.html

COYOTES:

lacy%20faces%20coyoteConnecticut 03/06/15 cbslocal.com: Coyotes were attacking in Connecticut this week, with three reports of the animals hunting down dogs. Luckily, all the dogs survived. But as CBS2’s Jessica Schneider reported, animal control officials said there is a big reason some big dogs are becoming prey. At least one coyote has been making the rounds in suburban Stamford – looming dangerously close to homes and setting its sights on several family dogs. “There was something following (my dog); chasing her,” said Stamford resident Karen Hart. Hart snapped a photo of her 2-year-old shepherd mix, named Kylie, running for her life “She got into the house and I slammed the door just as the coyote was approaching the front door,” Hart said. There were four attacks in a period of one week. All the dogs got away with minor cuts and scratches. But several owners have decided to keep their pets inside, alarmed at the coyotes’ brazen tactics. “This is very odd, because three of the dogs — a shepherd mix, a golden retriever and a German short-haired pointer – all obviously much larger than this coyote,” said Stamford police Capt. Richard Conklin. Police said coyote attacks are so prevalent this winter because of the extremely harsh weather conditions – so much so that coyotes have even started living under people’s decks. – For video see http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2015/03/06/coyotes-seen-going-after-large-dogs-in-stamford-connecticut/

CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE:

whitetaildeernpsVirginia 03/06/15 crozetgazette.com: Chronic Wasting Disease, an always-fatal neurological disease affecting white-tail deer, mule deer, elk and moose, has been discovered at Front Royal, within twelve miles of the Shenandoah National Park’s northern boundary, Park Superintendent Jim Northup told an audience at Crozet Library February 5. In 2009 it was discovered about 23 miles away from the park. A park report describes the advance as “rapid.” “It’s significant now in West Virginia,” he said. Northup said that the character of the 105-mile Skyline Drive and the edge-habitat nature of deer likely means that once the disease invades the park, it will advance southward along the scenic road and reach southern counties bordering the park. “The only way to slow it is to thin the deer herd,” he said. – For complete article see http://www.crozetgazette.com/2015/03/chronic-wasting-disease-nears-shenandoah-park/

HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS:

Cameroon gorillas

Cameroon gorillas

Global 03/06/15 newseveryday.com: by Revathi Siva Kumar – Four strains of the AIDS virus can be sourced to gorillas in southwest Cameroon, said an international team of scientists whose report was recently published. Hence, scientists understand the origin of the HIV virus, according to france24. HIV (HIV-1) has at least four strains. Known as Groups M, N, O and P, and every virus had its own origin from ape to man, on four occasions. While two groups, ie M and N have been traced to chimpanzees in Cameroon, the origin of the O and P strains have not been traced. The team, led by Martine Peeters, a virologist at France’s Research and Development Institute (IRD) and the University of Montpellier, has released a report that appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. HIV-1’s Group M is the most widespread and show more than 40 million people that are infected around the world. So far, just two humans have been found to be infected with Group P. Group O has been identified in central and western Africa, and has infected 100,000. The identification was possible through genetic samples from chimpanzees and gorillas from Cameroon, Gabon, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Fecal samples from western lowland gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas, and mountain gorillas in Cameroon, Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda were screened to detect SIVgor infection. Four field sites were found in southern Cameroon with western lowland gorillas harbouring SIVgor, according to pennews.

Cameroon chimpanzees

Cameroon chimpanzees

“From this study and others that our team has conducted in the past it has become clear that both chimpanzees and gorillas harbor viruses that are capable of crossing the species barrier to humans and have the potential to cause major disease outbreaks,” Peeters said. “Understanding emerging disease origins is critical to gauge future human infection risks.” Ever since 1981, HIV has infected 78 million, which destroys immune cells and makes the body vulnerable to tuberculosis, pneumonia and other such illnesses. About 39 million have died, according to UN estimates. The team of scientists is from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Montpellier, the University of Edinburgh, and other institutions. Beatrice Hahn, a professor of Medicine and Microbiology, and others from Penn were part of the team, whose findings appear online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. According to UN estimates, the illness has claimed 39 million lives so far, reports biznews. – See http://www.newseveryday.com/articles/10425/20150306/hiv-virus-traced-gorillas-cameroon.htm

RABIES:

dog468y9i0Florida 03/09/15 Palm Beach County: A bat found in the mouth of a vaccinated pet dog in Palm Beach Gardens has tested positive for rabies and family members who handled the bat and/or were in contact with the dog are being advised to seek immediate medical advice and treatment. – See http://www.cbs12.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_24063.shtml

Texas 03/08/15 McLennan County: A stray dog offered for adoption on Facebook attacked a mother and 4-year-old daughter who arrived in a Brookshire Bros. grocery store parking lot in Lorena on Saturday offering to take it. The child was bitten in the face and the mother in the face and hands by the dog described as a possible pit bull-mastiff mix. – See http://www.wacotrib.com/news/police/lorena-police-woman-child-injured-in-dog-attack/article_c12e1272-ba6b-555f-96b1-fc2902d91131.html

help984-05834Virginia 03/09/15 James City County: by Becca Mitchell – The Peninsula Health District is looking for a grey-striped male tabby cat that bit a person on Saturday, March 7th in the vicinity of Forge Road and Highway 60 in Toano. If the cat isn’t found, the victims may have to undergo post exposure treatment for the prevention of rabies. If found, the cat will not be taken from its owner, only placed on an in-home confinement period of 10 days. Anyone who has seen an animal fitting this description should call the Peninsula Health District – Williamsburg Area Environmental Health Office at 757-603-4277. – See http://wtkr.com/2015/03/09/tabby-cat-sought-for-rabies-testing-in-toano-after-biting-a-person/

CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE moves closer to YELLOWSTONE ~ Upscale NEW YORK suburb fears COYOTE incursion ~ 20 COLORADANS fear exposure to RABIES ~ FERAL CAT in MARYLAND had RABIES

Bugling bull elk. Courtesy U.S. National Park Service.

Bugling bull elk. Courtesy U.S. National Park Service.

Yellowstone National Park 03/04/15 bosemandailychronicle.com: by Laura Lundquist – Southwestern Montana is no stranger to wildlife diseases, but so far, it hasn’t had to confront chronic wasting disease, a scourge that continues to make headlines elsewhere. That might change in a few years. On Monday, Wyoming Wildlife Advocates released a map of Wyoming showing the rapid spread of chronic wasting disease over the past decade. It also illustrates that fewer than 40 miles separate Yellowstone National Park and Wyoming’s elk feed grounds from known infected areas. To slow or halt the march of CWD, conservationists are lobbying to close Wyoming’s elk feedlots, including one at the National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole that feeds almost 8,400 elk during the winter. “If we want to minimize the effect of CWD on the greater Yellowstone herds, the time to act is now. Failure to do so risks very real damage not only to wildlife but also to the tourism- and wildlife-dependent economies of the area,” said WWA executive director Kent Nelson. The group based the map on 14 years of data gathered by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and other research projects.

Elk feeding ground.

Elk feeding ground.

Chronic wasting disease is caused by a protein that attacks the nervous systems of deer, elk and moose. Similar to mad cow disease, it results in a slow deterioration of the brain and other nerve tissue so it is eventually fatal. It doesn’t affect livestock or people as long as they don’t consume the brain or certain other organs of infected wildlife. But it has caused havoc with wildlife populations in states in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. – For complete article and map showing spread of disease see http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/yellowstone_national_park/fatal-deer-and-elk-disease-moves-toward-yellowstone-park/article_6983a108-b344-5d05-97bb-77884cf19120.html

COYOTES:

Coyote_closeup.wikimediaNew York 03/01/15 abcnews.go.com: by Jim Fitzgerald – This well-heeled hamlet north of New York City is embroiled in an increasingly nasty debate that seems oddly out of place amid the stately homes and tony boutiques: What should be done about coyotes? Self-styled coyote spotters in and around Chappaqua have counted 160 incursions into backyards and streets over the last two years and at least 10 recent attacks on pets. That’s been enough to stir animal passions among residents over the question of when and if a coyote deserves to be killed. Email and social media have swirled with such teeth-baring terms as “coyote jihad” and “death map.” And members of a local task force that advocates trapping and killing some of the animals announced they were staying away from a recent public hearing on the issue “in the interest of our personal safety.” “I envisioned going down there and having blood thrown on me,” said task force member Joyce Stansell-Wong, who has since resigned.

LupeCaonTranscoyotesChappaqua, about 35 miles north of the city, is better known as the home of former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton than as a playground for coyotes. But wildlife officials say the demise of such predators as wolves and cougars over the last few decades has led to a spread of coyotes into more populated areas across the East Coast, including suburbs. Instagram and Facebook are replete with pictures of the canines scampering across sidewalks and among backyard playsets. Coyotes have even been spotted in New York City’s Central Park and the Bronx. Robert Greenstein, supervisor of the Town of New Castle, which has about 18,000 residents in Chappaqua, Millwood and unincorporated areas, said that in general, the debate is between two camps: “One group is concerned with protecting the coyotes and the other group is more concerned with protecting our pets.” The pet-protection camp, represented by the New Castle Coyote Management Task Force, argues for quicker use of “lethal solutions.” Even though there have been no attacks on humans, they fear the skulking canines may start to attack small children. – For complete article see http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/upscale-ny-suburb-embroiled-wily-debate-coyotes-29309326

RABIES:

13744331Colorado 03/02/15 El Paso County: A stray 6-month-old kitten taken in by a Colorado Springs family residing near Woodmen and Union boulevards has tested positive for rabies. So far, officials have identified 20 people who were potentially exposed to the virus and are receiving post-exposure treatment. – For article and video see http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_27625916/colorado-springs-kitten-tests-positive-rabies-20-people

56f8f5b7-d73f-4e37-9493-aab16238fcecMaryland 03/04/15 St. Mary’s County: A feral cat found in a subdivision of Breton Bay has tested positive for rabies. Residents are asked to also discuss this with their children and report any animal exposures involving people to the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office at 301-475-8008. Suspected animal bites to pets or livestock should be reported to St. Mary’s County Animal Control at 301-475-8018. – See http://www.thebaynet.com/articles/0315/feral-cat-tests-positive-for-rabies-.html